After a first attack by gunmen on August 16, the office of the Express Tribune in Karachi was attacked yesterday by men with guns and small improvised explosives made from tennis balls. In response, journalists in the Karachi area are calling for a rapid response from police and have threatened massive demonstrations if the culprits are not caught within 72 hours.
Police responses to both the August attack and yesterday’s appeared to be very slow. From the August story:
The police reached the site 40 minutes after the incident even though both the Defence and Baloch Colony police stations were at a stone’s throw from the media office.
In response to that attack, the same story noted that a “permanent” police presence was being put into place at the office:
A police mobile has been deputed outside the Express Media office permanently to avoid any untoward incident.
Except that the presence was not permanent. From the story on yesterday’s attack:
The attack follows an earlier attempt by terrorists against the Express Media Group on August 16, when unknown gunmen opened fire at the building. Following the first attack, a police van was stationed at the Express Media Group’s building to provide security. However, the police van had suddenly disappeared around two weeks back without intimation.
With the police van gone, and even though police stations are nearby, the response was once again slow:
Following the attack, which lasted for about 15 minutes, a contingent of police reached the scene of the crime almost 10 minutes after the attackers had fled.
Private security for the Express Tribune managed to turn back the attackers:
According to eyewitness accounts, the attackers hurled a tennis-ball bomb towards the main entrance of the building from an overhead bridge running perpendicular to the Express Media Group building. The first bomb attack was followed by another within 30 seconds, and was accompanied by a hail of intermittent gunfire, both between and after the two attacks.
Following retaliatory fire by security guards stationed at the entrance, the assailants fled the scene of the attack towards Korangi Road.